Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Indiana Jane Fortune, the champion of Florence’s female artists, dies at 76

By Katharine Q. Seelye
Lamentation with Saints (detail) Plautilla Nelli Date: 1569
INDIANAPOLIS---While wandering through an antique book fair in Florence, Italy, in 2005, Jane Fortune, a philanthropist from Indiana, came across a book about Plautilla Nelli, Florence’s first known female artist, whose works date from the 1500s. The book inspired Ms. Fortune to visit the San Marco Museum in that city to see Nelli’s painting “Lamentation With Saints.” Sadly, Ms. Fortune saw, it was caked with dirt and had lost its luster. She decided then and there to pay for its restoration. At the age of 63, Ms. Fortune thus began the final and perhaps most notable chapter of a long life as a patron of the arts. She founded a nonprofit foundation called Advancing Women Artists to find and salvage art created by women between the 16th and 20th centuries. She died on Sept. 23 in her hometown, Indianapolis. She was 76. [More]
Jane Fortune in 2009. She worked to restore and bring to light masterpieces by female artists, especially painters in Renaissance Florence. Credit: AWA Archives